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Sunday, July 21, 2024

National Harbor 2020 Exercise Tests Interagency Recovery and Response

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) joined with public and private-sector partners to conduct an interagency Tabletop Exercise (TTX) called “National Harbor 2020 – Recovery Phase Exercise,” September 29 – 30, to test the processes and plans required by regional government and business partners following a notional catastrophic incident at National Harbor outside of Washington, D.C.

Exercise participants included the National Harbor Security Consortium (MGM National Harbor, Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Peterson Companies National Harbor and additional entities), leaders from Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland, and various federal-level and regional partners.

The exercise scenario began 24 hours after a notional catastrophic incident and concluded three months after the incident, focusing on recovery processes and plans required to support the people and facilities of National Harbor in Prince Georges County, Md., surrounding communities and associated business operations.

Exercise participants also had the opportunity to hear virtual presentations during the exercise, highlighting proven practices and lessons learned from recent catastrophic incidents in Las Vegas, Nev. and El Paso, Texas.

“We were excited to host this Tabletop Exercise in Prince George’s County, providing an opportunity for local, state and federal partners to come together and learn from subject-matter experts in the area of disaster response,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “We know from the COVID-19 pandemic that it is absolutely critical to be prepared for any incident or disaster, so we welcomed this opportunity to learn and collaborate in order to enhance our own incident response plans.”

Exercise topics discussed included supporting the local establishment of family assistance & resiliency processes and business mechanisms that would be required to support reconstitution of operations with associated human services, legal support and public affairs outreach. During the exercise, the participants also:

  • Examined response and recovery with a focus on:
    • Organizational recovery and business continuity plans
    • Prolonged response and recovery operations
    • Coordination among National Harbor organizations and entities
    • Coordination with local, state, and federal public sector partners
  • Identified organizational risk factors and assessed thresholds related to risk tolerance.
  • Examined post-incident / recovery phase information sharing and public messaging procedures.
  • Discussed long-term physical and/or psychological impacts for employees, customers, and partners.
  • Fostered relationships between private sector stakeholders and local, state, and federal entities focused on recovery efforts.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the majority of attendees participated in the TTX virtually. A small group of senior leaders convened in-person, employing social distancing and wearing face masks, at MGM National Harbor.

“National Harbor 2020 provided participants with effective and practical mechanisms to examine recovery plans and procedures, identify areas for improvement, and share best practices with our government, regional, and private sector partners. Throughout the year, CISA conducts cyber and physical exercises with federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, private sector, and international partners to enhance security and resilience of critical infrastructure,” said CISA Acting Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security Steve Harris.

Read more at CISA

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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